Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 5069
Title: Growth and survival of three marine invertebrate species in sediments from the Hudson-Raritan estuary, New York
Author: Casey A. Rice, P. D. Plesha, Edmundo Casillas, David A. Misitano, J. P. Meador
Publication Year: 1995
Journal: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume: 14
Issue: 11
Pages: 1931-1940

Sediments in the Hudson–Raritan estuary are known to contain high concentrations of anthropogenic contaminants, and marine organisms from this region exhibit numerous contaminant–related effects.  To assess the pattern of sediment toxicity in depositional areas of this region, and to compare lethal and sublethal end points for different bioassay organisms, three benthic marine invertebrate species were exposed to sediments from 17 sites in the Hudson–Raritan estuary.  Growth and mortality of the polychaete Armandia brevis and the sand dollar Dendraster excentricus were measured in all 17 sediments, while mortality and reburial ability of the amphipod Rhepoxinius abronius were assessed in nine sediments.  Growth of polychaetes was determined by measuring the difference in weight after a 20–d exposure, whereas growth of sand dollars was assessed by measuring the difference in length and weight after a 28–d exposure.  Amphipod mortality and reburial tests were conducted using the standard 10–d sediment bioassay.  Significant growth reduction of polychaetes and sand dollars occurred in 11 of 17, and 3 of 17 sediments, respectively.  Polychaete weight and sand dollar length correlated inversely and significantly with total sediment concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and some selected elements.  In contrast, significant mortality of polychaetes and amphipods occurred in 1 of 17 and 2 of 9 sediments, respectively, and impaired reburial ability of amphipods was not observed.  Results of this study demonstrate that sediment contamination at depositional sites with the Hudson–Raritan estuary has potential to cause deleterious biological effects in indigenous benthic organisms.  In addition, sublethal growth bioassays using polychaetes and sand dollars appear to be more sensitive in measuring the effects of sediment contamination than does the mortality–based bioassay using the amphipod Rhepoxinius abronius

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